I’m jealous. There I said it. Not ashamed to admit it. I’m jealous as hell. I’m as jealous as a guy who watches the girl he crushes on walk off with some jerk.
I’m jealous of the fans of the 16 teams that made the playoffs. Heck, I’m even jealous of the fans whose teams just missed the playoffs. I’m tired of having my team’s season over after the trading the deadline. These playoffs have been amazing to watch, and I’m tired of not having a true, vested rooting interest in them because my team isn’t in them! Yeah, I know there was 2009, but that is the only slight blip on a decade without many. I WANT THE FLORIDA PANTHERS TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!
I’m tired of going to the Bank Atlantic Center for anything, be it hockey or a concert, and looking to the future of what the arena will looked like filled! I want it now! I want to BAC ice with a freshly painted Stanley Cup Playoffs logo. Heck, I even want to see how Michael Yormark markets it to death.
I know this future for this team is much brighter than its present or recent past. I know that Dale Tallon has done a great job of adding talent that will help achieve everybody’s goal of a being a contender. I know that there is an important draft ahead at the end of June. I even know that another playoff-less season is probably on the horizon for next year before this team is ready to really join the fight. I know that guys like Erik Gudbranson, Quinton Howden and Nick Bjugstad will be the nucleus that revitalizes this organization. But all that hasn’t been helping me the past few days, as we had a two day span with four Game 7’s. It’s just been too long. I want a game in April that means something other than draft position. The people who have stayed true to this team and this sport, many of whom were introduced to it when the Panthers came into being, deserve it.
How loyal has this fanbase, albeit small compared to bigger cities, been? In this decade of futility, you know what markets have finished below Florida in attendance in a given year? Pittsburgh, Chicago, St Louis, Boston, New Jersey, Washington. All of those are what many would say are great hockey markets (or in the case of Jersey, they had great teams). And at some point in the past decade, they couldn’t outdraw the hapless, superstar-less Florida Panthers. No, this market gives new meaning to the team die-hard fans. If you’re still a fan after what’s gone down since 2000, your spirit can’t be killed! Being a Panther fan is a character builder. But enough with the character building. We want the playoffs. We want it bad! To quote the late Jim Morrison, “We want the world and we want it now!”
Thank you for listening to my venting! I’ll pay the receptionist on my way out and schedule another appointment for next week.
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